bob buckhorn

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Florida: Despite Tampa Decriminalizing Marijuana, Cops Keep Throwing Users In Jail

Despite Tampa decriminalizing marijuana, cops keep throwing users in jail.

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Although the City of Tampa recently decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana, some law enforcement agencies plan to continue throwing pot users in jail.

WFLA News Channel 8 released a report indicating that the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, which oversees the city of Tampa and its outlying areas, refuses to acknowledge the decriminalization ordinance that allows police to issue a citation and not arrest anyone found with 20 grams of pot or less. Instead the sheriff's office advised its deputies that marijuana is still against state law, and that means criminal charges for anyone caught possessing marijuana.

“If the sheriff’s office or the highway patrol or whatever agency, does issue a criminal charge on a marijuana within the city limits of Tampa and they refer it to us, we will treat it as a criminal charge just like we always have,” said Hillsborough State Attorney spokesman Mark Cox.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn signed the ordinance in March that gives police officers the flexibility to issue tickets for simple possession, instead of taking offenders to jail. The law went into effect on April 1.

“Incarcerating people, particularly young people, for a very small amount of marijuana absolutely alters their career path for the rest of their life,” Buckhorn said in a recent statement.

Florida: Tampa Mayor Approves Ordinance To Decriminalize Marijuana

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn signs ordinance to decriminalize marijuana.

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Tampa now officially has an ordinance that decriminalizes the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The Tampa City Council approved the ordinance last week on a 5-1 vote, said spokeswoman Ashley Bauman. Mayor Bob Buckhorn signed the ordinance Monday, making it official.

Buckhorn had previously voiced support for the measure. "There is almost a universal recognition that we need to do this better," he said earlier this year. "Doing this doesn't make us any less anti-drug, but it's a realization that the penalties that have been imposed have done more damage to the trajectories of young peoples' lives than the offenses have warranted."

Under Florida state law, possession of 20 grams of marijuana or less is a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison or probation and a $1,000 file. Offenders can also lose their driving license for up to one year.

The new law would impose a fine of $75 for first time offenders. A second offense would mean a fine of $150, $300 for a third, and $450 for any following violations.

The city could implement the program as early as next month.

Florida: Tampa City Council Approves Marijuana Measure

Florida marijuana.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Tampa City Council approved a new law Thursday morning that will allow police to fine people possessing small amounts of marijuana and not arrest them.

The vote was 5-1 in favor of the law, which gives police the option to issue a civil citation for possession of up to 20 grams, roughly three quarters of an ounce. It is now just up to Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn to sign the law, who supports the measure.

Under Florida state law, possession of 20 grams of marijuana or less is a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison or probation and a $1,000 file. Offenders can also lose their driving license for up to one year.

The new law would impose a fine of $75 for first time offenders. A second offense would mean a fine of $150, $300 for a third, and $450 for any following violations.

“We are not talking about legalizing marijuana,” said Council member Lisa Montelione. “We are talking about decriminalizing a certain amount of marijuana.”

The one nay vote came from Council member Charlie Miranda, who made no comment on the law.

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